By now, you've likely figured out that I love when there are special things going on in the sky. Whether it's meteor showers, moonbows, or rare planetary alignments, you can almost bet that I am geeking out about it and sharing it with you. This month's planetary opposition is no different.

Planetary Oppositions

You hear a lot of terms and planetary jargon being thrown around but you may not know what exactly those words and phrases mean. When it comes to planets, and their alignment with Earth, a word you hear frequently is "opposition." As a really simple analogy, thing back to the school-yard game of Monkey in the Middle. The kid in the middle is Earth and the other two kids tossing the ball back and forth would be the sun and the planet in opposition to Earth. According to the Planetary Society,

Opposition is when the Sun-Earth-planet angle is at a maximum, for planets beyond Earth; it's when the planet is opposite to the position of the Sun. The angle would be 180 degrees if all the planets' orbits were coplanar, but the orbits are all a little bit inclined with respect to each other. Opposition also happens near the date that Earth is closest to the planet within one synodic period (the time from one opposition to another).

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The Largest Planet in the Solar System

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and a personal favorite of mine as it's the ruling planet of my astrological sun sign (Shout out to all the other Sagitarrians out there!) I have such an affinity for the giant planet, that I even named my cat after it. In September, Jupiter is in opposition with Earth, making it visible to the naked eye.

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

See Jupiter Without a Telescope

Jupiter will be so big and bright in the September night sky that you will be able to see it without the aid of any type of lens., says it will appear larger and brighter than it has in nearly sixty years.

Rising in the east shortly after sunset, it ascends high into the sky by the late evening, lowering toward the western horizon by dawn. Jupiter is currently at its biggest and brightest in almost sixty years blazing among the dim stars of Pisces the Fishes.


When to See It

You will be able to look to the eastern sky shortly after the sun goes down to find Jupiter and then you will find it on the western horizon as dawn approaches. While you can see Jupiter clearly in the night sky from sunset to sunrise during the entire month of September, it will be in direct opposition on Monday, September 26th, making it the biggest and brightest that night as it reaches the closest to Earth that it will be all year, according to

Must See: Astrophotography Taken Over Southern Illinois Zinnia Field

See beautiful images of the night sky over a zinnia field located in Redelman Orchards located in Southern Illinois. The spectacular photos were captured by Illinois photographers Grant Twiss and John O'Connell.

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